Midwives are human. They make mistakes. They experience what other mothers experience. And, sometimes, that's too much for them as they are grieving. Sometimes, just the thought of assisting a woman in childbirth makes them fall to their knees in fear.
And, sometimes, a few midwives here and there develop crushes on the fathers of the babies they deliver. Of course, they keep that to themselves. Or they confess their feelings in a quiet whisper to another midwife. Or nobody at all.
And, though midwifery is truly a noble profession, some midwives feel as though they "settled" for this rather than going on ahead.
Some midwives are very protective of their laboring patients. Other midwives have to be protective of the helpless babies rather than of the mothers. Even though midwives have obtain professional certifications, they fear losing them with every delivery they attend.
Even though being a midwife sounds like it would be a joyful experience every day, some midwives confess to crying. A lot. Other midwives are so exhausted from long shifts that they have very little left to give to their patients.
Home deliveries are always unpredictable. When a family owns a pet, it might wander into the room. Climb onto the bed. Contaminate the area where a newborn baby is lying!
15 Time To Change Careers?
Midwifery is truly a noble profession. Even though the hours are long and unpredictable, most deliveries end happily, with mom and dad cuddling a healthy newborn. Even when a pregnancy doesn't end well, the midwife generally has the skills she needs to help the grieving parents.
There are those midwives who realize they hate being midwives. One such midwife confessed that, when people tell her that her profession is "amazing," she struggles with not blurting the truth out. "I really hate being a midwife."
Even though she has successfully attended hundreds of births, she realized shortly after beginning her new profession, that she didn't like it. While she didn't specify what she doesn't like about her work, she is "sick to death" of hearing about how "amazing" it is to see babies born every day.
14 Ignorance Isn't Bliss
"Our profession is really a medical profession. We've have trained to become midwives and we have a huge amount of knowledge about the medical side of pregnancy and childbirth." This midwife is really a heartbeat away from giving a prodigious eye-roll to the next person who thinks she does very little to help her patients.
That said, there are some members of the human population who hold the sadly mistaken belief that midwives only hold the hands of laboring mothers. That falls far, far from the truth.
Midwives have been trained in several medical procedures that can take place during labor and delivery. They take blood samples; Stitch mothers up "down there." Insert and start epidurals (yes, midwife-assisted labors can be medicated); and, when mom needs insulin, her midwife give her an injection in the proper dosage.
13 No Paws Allowed
Whoops! It looks like the sweet, cute little fuzzy wandered into the wrong room at the wrong time, right? This midwife is very attentive to the health of her patients. So, she confesses to having come close to yelling at a new daddy when the cat enters the room.
"I admit it. I love animals, but I know they have put their paws in some pretty dirty places. I don't want them anywhere near mom and baby until everyone has been taken care of." And by that, she means that baby has been cleaned up and given its APGAR tests. Mom has been cleaned and stitched up and is comfortably ensconced in bed. Once all this happens, then the cat can come in. As long as it doesn't put its paws anywhere near the baby! This is actually a pretty admirable goal.
12 An Everyday Reminder
Ouch, this gives a punch to the solar plexus. That is a tough piece of knowledge for a midwife to hold secret even as she helps other women have their own children. "I'm a midwife who might not be able to have kids, and it kills me. But I love my job," whispers this midwife.
Whatever caused her infertility clearly hasn't stopped this caring midwife from assisting at the mostly joyful labors of her patients. These families are really blessed to have this midwife as their medical professional.
This means that, every single day she is on duty, she gets to meet newly pregnant moms. She guides pregnant moms all the way through their pregnancies and, to top that off, she hands the newly born babies to their parents. This is the kind of situation where she has to face her body's imperfection every day before she goes into work.
11 The Responsibility
This is especially pertinent to newer midwives, but the fear affects every one of them. "I'm responsible for making sure that every birth I assist in has a happy ending. Even though I'm fully trained, that feeling still hasn't gone away." And it may never completely go away.
It's the conscientious midwife who will carry that awareness with her every day she is on duty. This midwife says that, at times, the responsibility is "overwhelming." This must be true especially when something has gone wrong with the pregnancy—or when something unexpected has developed during labor or delivery.
Of course, this self-knowledge may also help spur every midwife into giving every bit of her attention to her patents throughout their pregnancies and deliveries. And that's only for the good.
10 Bad Dad
"He chose to go hunting instead of going to a childbirth class. Hunting! When she told me where her husband was. . . well, 'seeing red' would have been too mild. I wanted to slash his tires."
Midwives are human, with human emotions. So, when one father made the decision that a weekend's hunting was more important than attending a class with the mother of his child, this midwife was pretty justified in how she reacted. (But let's hope she didn't slash the tires, after all.)
Guys, when your wives are in the middle of labor, she and your about-to-be-born child are the most important entities on this earth. They are the only people you should be thinking about. After you've called your boss. . . or your hunting buddies, of course.
9 The Heartbreak
And she has the best reason in the world. "My son just passed away. Today was my first day back at work since that day. A mom I helped had a stillborn baby and it was just too much for me."
Again, our midwives are human women, with feelings. They enter this profession because they love the feeling of seeing parents giving birth to their babies. On the flip side, pain and sadness affect them just as much. Whether they have suffered the loss or one of their patients has lost a baby, they feel the pain just as deeply.
About midwives losing their children? Yes, that happens to them as well. Whether the children were in elementary school or working, their mothers who are also midwives feel the loss right to their very core.
8 No Matter The Outcome
"We have to give extra attention and reassurance to mothers who are giving birth prematurely. These moms had planned on having their perfect baby on or around their due dates. So, even though the majority of preemies soon has an optimistic outcome, mom is still frightened. And, as many times as we've seen this, we have to remind ourselves of that."
Let's unpack this. Midwives are more likely to assist in at least one premature birth in a year. The mother of one premature baby will only experience that once in a year—hopefully in her life. So, the level of fear is different for mom than it is for her midwife.
If the midwife remembers that her patient has probably never experienced a premature birth, she'll be able to be more supportive and compassionate. After all, having a mom who's as calm as possible can only help the baby.
7 Baby's Bad Timing
A couple's experience in giving birth to their child is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for that child. On the opposite side of the spectrum, a child's graduation from high school or college is also a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Sometimes. . . both of these events happen on the same day. When a couple has been seeing the same midwife for nine months, they have a relationship. They don't want to have a total stranger overseeing the birth of their new baby! This means that the midwife has to miss her child's graduation.
"I was upset with the baby's timing. I'll confess that. Mom went into labor really early that morning. When she came in, she still wasn't ready to give birth. As the day went on, it became clear that I was going to miss my son's graduation. And I wasn't happy. I had planned on being there."
6 Hard Not To Judge
We shouldn't judge others. This holds true for midwives. But one midwife admits that it's hard for her: "I really love my job as a midwife. When I am working with a teen girl who's 13, 14 or 15, I have a very hard time keeping my thoughts to myself when their parents are saying, "It was an accident."
Just as it is with teachers, social workers or store managers, midwives have to keep themselves from inserting their own personal opinions—or value judgments. After all, their patients and their parents are smack in the middle of one of the most emotional experiences of their lives, whether they are happy about the pregnancy or not.
It's natural. We all have opinions and values. We judge others every day: Why is she wearing that when it clearly doesn't suit her?! Why did she say that to her child.
5 The Hardest Part
When a patient comes in pregnant, a midwife might find out that her patient is subject to a court order that means she has to give up custody of her newborn infant. That has to hurt her. It also makes the midwife feel bad. After all, she has to comply with the court order and comfort the mother.
"Oh, wow! That's probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. But sometimes, mothers just aren't cut out to be mothers. Whether they have a drug problem or a problem in raising their children appropriately, Child Protective Services is involved with her and her family. When that happens, there's often a court order requiring CPS to take custody of any unborn children. This means that I have to hand that baby over. Then, if I am allowed, I have to comfort the mother who has just lost that custody."
4 At Least She's Sorry
"I have to confess: It was really hot the day your baby was born. After helping get everyone cleaned up and situated, I left through your garage. And I took a can of beer from the fridge. It was oppressive out there. I'm so sorry!"
Midwives aren't superhuman. They're vulnerable to the same conditions that everyone else is. When it's bone-chilling cold out, they feel it. When it's hot enough to melt into the sidewalk, they want to melt as well.
This means that, after this midwife helped one couple have their child and she introduced them to each other, it was time to leave. After filling out the information for the birth certificate, of course.
Maybe she was escorted out through the garage. After dad closed the door to the garage, she realized she needed something cold. Ah! The beer!
3 Her Decision
This midwife confesses that, when her family says she should have gone "all the way" and become a doctor, she's sick of hearing that. "Look at it this way. If I had wanted to be a doctor, I would have gone all the way through medical school. That's not what I wanted. I. Chose. To. Be. A. Midwife. End of story."
I get it. This is what she dreamed of. She has her reasons for choosing midwifery rather than becoming an obstetrician. Maybe she felt that the "M.D." would put an obstacle between her and her patents. And she didn't want that.
Midwives are a special breed of medical professional. They sit somewhere between the nursing staff and the M.D. staff. Every midwife should have gone through specialized educational programs. They may work from a holistic or alternative medicine philosophy.
2 No Time For Lunch
"I have to say that, once I'm on duty, I have very little time to take a break. That's for visits to the bathroom, eating lunch or even drinking a cup of coffee. We're always on the move—rarely sitting down. And, when we get home, we are exhausted." This midwife is just telling it just as it is for her. From the time they get to the birthing center or begin their shift, they won't stop until it's time to go home. Many times, they won't go home when their shift ends. How can they, when they are in the middle of a patient's labor and delivery?
These medical professionals are just as busy as nurses and OB-GYNs who care for laboring patients in the hospital. And they are performing many of the same procedures on their patients. They insert epidurals, take blood and blood pressure.
1 The Fear
When something unexpected happens or goes wrong, midwives experience fear as well. What if the bleeding is a symptom of something wrong? What if that dizzy spell is a signal? "Will I know what to do if something's really wrong?" This midwife confesses to uncertainty if she's busy with a patient when something develops.
If, say, the baby's heartbeat falls too low, she wonders, "Did I wait too long? Will she have to have a C-section?" This happens to most, if not all, midwives. Even the most experienced professionals experience a twinge of fear, then their experience and professionalism swing into action. "Okay, let's try one more thing. . ."
Only by remembering their training will this midwife be able to move beyond her momentary fear so she can help guide her laboring patient. The solution may be very simple: "Try this and see if things start back up in there."
Sources: whisper.com, buzzfeed.com, facebook.com, hepper.com, napavalleymidwives.com, gapmedics.com, The Midwives of New Jersey, Diary of a Newly Qualified Midwife, babycenter.com, Quiet Country Life, livestrong.com, huffingtonpost.com, Pregnancy - Love to Know, bloodlustpyro.deviant.com, UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women's Health - UC San Francisco, Denver Metro Moms Blog - City Moms Blog Network, ABC.com, kidspot.com.au